Founded in 1954, Seton Catholic Preparatory is a faith-based, co-educational secondary diocesan school in Chandler, Ariz. It serves a diverse student body of approximately 600 young men and women from more than 50 parochial, private, charter, public and home schools, primarily in the communities of Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee and Gilbert. Seton Catholic also draws students from Casa Grande and the Gila River Indian reservation. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to continue their education at the undergraduate, post-graduate and professional levels. Ninety-nine percent of Seton graduates go on to post-secondary education. As the only Catholic high school in the Southeast Valley of metropolitan Phoenix, Seton has added facilities and more than doubled its enrollment since 1990.
In addition to a focus on education, the Diocese of Phoenix also has a long history of working to provide safe environments for children and young people throughout their schools. As an example, security technology in place at Seton Catholic had included video surveillance, access control and public address systems. Policies and procedures were also in place at Seton Catholic to cover emergency situations, but the school had no supporting technology to assist school officials in responding to an incident. If a student went missing or there was a medical emergency in the classroom, precious minutes could be lost before remedial action was started.
As the vendor of record for designing and installing the school’s access control and video surveillance system, Technical Systems of nearby Mesa, Ariz., was aware of the opportunity to enhance the security at Seton Catholic. The school’s administration is always proactively looking for ways to enhance their security measures. In doing so, they opted to implement Sielox’s Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System (Class).
“We are always looking to improve the safety of our school campus for our students, faculty and staff,” said Julie Grindey, dean of students at Seton Catholic Preparatory. “The offer from Technical Systems and Sielox was the perfect solution for us.”
Sielox Class is a crisis management system that enhances awareness and communication by providing real-time information for both on-site and emergency personnel through the use of graphical maps, chat, email and text messaging. The system is used in many state grant programs and has successfully been deployed to schools nationwide. When approached by Technical Systems, an integration partner of Sielox, about implementing Sielox Class at Seton Catholic as a beta test site, school officials immediately said yes.
The system’s color-coded icons make it easy for designated staff, security personnel and teachers to use. When teachers turn on their computer in the morning, the program is automatically displayed. In the event of an emergency in the classroom, the teacher simply presses the corresponding color-coded icon and the room number and nature of the alert is transmitted via text, chat or email to designated responders for their immediate action. The system further allows teachers to input, via text, any additional pertinent information. For example, the blue icon is for medical emergencies and the teacher may indicate that the student is having an asthma attack, allowing more defined action to be taken.
Since the system has been in place, Grindey says it has been overwhelmingly received and has proven to be instrumental in helping to address incidents, especially those of a medical nature. She adds, “We have used the medical emergency notification via text messages on several occasions which has been wonderful. We also love the ability to see the status of every room in a lockdown situation.”
Local Chandler law enforcement and EMT personnel can also receive alerts, allowing them to respond faster and with more information. Interactive classroom maps are monitored at the school and also by Technical Systems and can also be extended to Chandler Police Department dispatchers and control cars, providing exact location information.
In addition to the safety and security benefits afforded by the real-time alerts, the integration capability of Sielox Class will help take school security to the next level. The system is scheduled to be integrated with the school’s video surveillance and access control systems and also with the new public address system when it is installed. Additionally, Sielox controllers will replace existing access control hardware to create a single platform for overall control and more effective security.
“The ability to integrate Sielox Class with the school’s other systems is a valuable feature of Class for both budgetary and security reasons,” said Mike Baum, business development manager at Technical Systems Inc. “Schools need to take every precaution to ensure the safety of students, staff and visitors, and Sielox Class helps them to do just that.”
Finally, the Class system has also enhanced the school’s already excellent reputation. The added safety and security created by Sielox Class has become an attractive recruiting tool as well as providing peace of mind to families of current students.